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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

JPEF Celebrates 10 Years with New York Gala Dinner

From the humble beginnings of JPEF in my basement to 280 donors people filling up Park Avenue Synagogue ballroom in New York for our 10th Anniversary Celebration,  this has been quite an experience.

Charlie Blaichman with "Defiance" screenwriter/producer Clay Frohman and JPEF honoree Frank Blaichman with the Lev Aryeh Award.
Dana Tyler, senior news anchor from New York's WCBS was our emcee and engaged everyone during our program with her poise and charm. Clay Frohman, screen/writer of "Defiance" shared his long history with JPEF and read a letter from Liev Schreiber to the audience as Liev could not attend. JPEF board co-chair, Paul Orbuch did a fantastic job with heart felt remarks about growing up as a son of a Jewish partisan.

JPEF board co-chair Paul Orbuch stands between two former
Bielski partisans -- Charles Bedzow and Sam Bloch
Our honorees, Rose and Frank Blaichman and Rose and Joe (z''l) Holm families we chosen as the first recipients of the Lev Aryeh (Heart of the Lion), were very deserving of this award that recognizes Jewish partisans, their families, and those who stand up and make a difference. Varda Yoran, wife of partisan Shalom Yoran designed our award, based on one of her sculptures, and we were very lucky to have this. I know the JPEF staff and board looks forward to next year's award dinner. In fact, I heard a few people talk about "next year's dinner" to my pleasant surprise.

Steven Holm with his mother, JPEF Lev Aryeh Award Honoree
Rose Holm.

At one point during my remarks, I asked all of the partisans, then all the survivors, then the 2nd and 3rd generation to stand up together. It was powerful as about 70 people were standing.
JPEF produced two films for the event narrated by Ed Asner -- first cousin of a Jewish partisan (Abe Asner). One was about our 10 Anniversary --featuring Michael Berenbaum and Clay Frohman-- and the other was the introduction of the honorees. Each film is 4-5 minutes and are below.

Thank you for making it a great 10 years. 

--Mitch Braff
Founder and Executive Director

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